Archive for the ‘Warwick Davis’ Category

Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood (2003).

Look, you’re a different person after 10 years, if all goes well.  What I got a twisted kick out of in high school, I usually have far less interest in, or patience for, as an adult.  And having since seriously studied and then worked in film, there are things I’ve picked up and observed about filmmaking that I can’t unlearn.  There’s a way some things have to be done, and the way things should be done, and when they’re not done that way, a movie is technically unreleasable.

So when I call the sixth Leprechaun film the worst of the series, without question, by a huge margin, I’m no longer discussing a movie that is so-bad-it’s-good or a movie that is simply bad.  What I’m telling you is that this movie is unwatchable.  Literally.  At least with the other five, you can see what’s going on.  Whether you want to see it or not is your own decision, but at least the images are viewable.

Leprechaun 6 is so shoddily filmed that it’s very often impossible to make out the action.  I saw this [with any luck] final entry in the series a couple years back and I was probably drunk at the time, but my faculties are such that I should still be able to describe what happened during the running time, even if I hate it.  Not so, this time.  I haven’t seen this many unnecessary Dutch angles, incoherently edited sequences, or disorienting camera placements since I walked out of Battlefield Earth.  This movie is so filled with Film School 101 violations that it can hardly be considered a movie at all.

Which is ironic, because it arguably features the best cast of any Leprechaun film to date, including Tangi Miller (supercute), Laz Alonso (destined one day for stardom), Sticky Fingaz from Onyx (and The Motherfucking Shield), and of course Warwick Davis (who seems as bored by now with this shit as I am).  Too bad the film stock is so muddy that their performances are obstructed.

Right, so it’s a sequel to a sequel and a continuation of an insane idea that was poorly executed the first time and instead of being improved upon, that idea is done even worse the second time, with some of the most inept filmmaking you could ever see.  Why am I writing this long about this movie?  It’s a piece of crap.  Flush that shit.

Next up: With any luck, oblivion.

@jonnyabomb

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Leprechaun In The Hood (2000).

Here the series gets its biggest blast of star power since Jennifer Aniston in the first installment, and the evil Leprechaun gets his most formidable enemy.

No doubt fulfilling a career-long ambition, Ice-T appears as a pimp in the 1970s, in a flashback to a time when a man could keep a gun in his hairdo.  That little flute he’s holding is the trophy he won from thwarting the Leprechaun and using his riches to become a powerful ganglord.  Fast-forward to the present day, when three teens inadvertently free the Leprechaun, who instantly embarks on a revenge trail.

Leprechaun In The Hood sounds at first blush like it’s worth a chuckle, but in my humble opinion it’s more disappointing than a flat Pepsi.  If you’re going to undertake the already-questionable enterprise of lampooning both Irish mythology and modern-day West Coast hip-hop culture, you want to be way more committed to the concept than what happened here.  You want to cartoon it up as much as good taste will not allow.

Instead, the cowardly plot becomes obsessed with the three youthful aspiring musicians who find the Leprechaun’s magic flute (or some shit like that, I’m not even going to look it up) and use it to ignite their music careers.  Of course the Leprechaun shows up to smack a bitch.  But what happens then is that he aimlessly wanders around South Central while the movie spends an inordinate amount of time on the saga of the three youths following their dream.

Ice-T?  He’s gone as quickly as he’s able to.  So I need to ask what no one else seems to have:  What movie are we making here?  Does anyone lit enough to rent a movie called Leprechaun In The Hood have any interest whatsoever in the bittersweet tale of three friends who just want to make it?  I may be overstating the extent of this subplot-pushed-to-the-fore, but probably I’m not.  The movie is badly diluted.

I got 5 on it.

So of course the Leprechaun kills a guy with a bong, and OF COURSE he raps, but these are painfully embarrassing and depressing spectacles, regardless of what the kids on YouTube would tell you.  When you suspect a movie could actually have been improved by the presence of Mike Epps, you know shit ain’t working.

Just about the worst rapper ever.

Next up: Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood (2003).

@jonnyabomb

Wrong movie.

 

"Always bet on green."

Leprechaun 3: Leprechaun In Las Vegas (1995).

I refuse to do any research for this article, so this entry will have to suffer for it.

I hardly remember Leprechaun 3.

I remember the basic plot, that an aspiring magician finds one of the Leprechaun’s gold coins in the desert, drives to Vegas and bets with it, wins big and embarks on a Vegas career… until the Leprechaun shows up.

I remember that, somewhat predictably, someone eventually gets sawed in half.

I remember that a guy tries to bang a lady who turns out to be a robot who turns out to explode.

At least I think I remember that part.

I remember that the protagonist guy for some reason begins morphing into a rival Leprechaun.  [Introducing yet another weakness of evil Leprechauns:  other Leprechauns.  Also potatoes.  Inexplicable, but there you go.]

What I don’t remember is this installment of the series being among the more entertaining (that adjective ALWAYS being relative when it comes to the Leprechaun films).  In fact, to me this is where the franchise took a massive nosedive, and that’s considering that it didn’t start out as a hallmark of quality.  I like to think that the producers sent the Leprechaun to Las Vegas as a prankish response to the success of the deathly serious Leaving Las Vegas that same calendar year, but the movie that resulted suggests that no such wit was involved.

In my opinion, it definitely sucked, and not in any of the good senses of the term.  Speaking of which, this is also the year I started to seriously take a real interest in girls, so from here on, the Leprechaun films became less of a hobby and more of a habit, even a duty.

I watched these movies so that you don’t have to.  That is why I am a hero.

Next up: Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997).

@jonnyabomb

"What's luck got to do with it?"

Leprechaun 2: Bride Of Leprechaun (1994).

There are six Leprechaun movies in existence.  As is so often the case, the first one is the best.

This is probably the other one to watch, if you have to watch any.

[Again, the disclaimer:  I am working almost entirely off memory here.  I’ve seen all of these movies but I don’t necessarily recommend that to anyone else.  Watch any of them at your own risk.]

Leprechaun 2 is the only one I saw in the theaters, possibly the only one ever to appear in theaters.  It was directed by the same guy who directed Idle Hands, whatever that indicates for you.  The point is, he worked again after Leprechaun 2, so at the very least the guy knows where to point a camera – a virtue that cannot be accorded to every single director who ever helmed a Leprechaun film.  After a decade in television, he directed the documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, which given Conan O’Brien’s current culture-hero esteen, is not exactly a straight line from shlock-horror mayhem.  I’m sure there’s an Irish joke to be made here, but not by me.

So anyway, in Leprechaun 2 as in the first Leprechaun, there are brief (VERY brief) moments of actual creepiness and atmosphere, although there is also much more weird sexuality and more gore, which kicks it into a different setting of disturbing.  There’s also plenty of silliness, but this installment is notable as the last time the series even pretended to try to scare anybody.

Accordingly, the Leprechaun’s predatory pool this time around is dramatically less impressive than the first movie’s supporting cast.  Let’s just say that the young male and female leads didn’t have any hope of going on to star on Friends.

The only member of the cast to crop up on Must-See TV was the character called Uncle Morty, played by comedian Sandy Baron, who was a semi-regular on Seinfeld (he was Jerry’s dad’s nemesis in the retirement community.) Here he plays an obnoxious asshole who corners the Leprechaun and demands he turn over his gold. The Leprechaun gives it to him, all right – in his belly! Uncle Morty dies screaming, “Get it out of me!”, which is a catchphrase you probably never heard on Seinfeld.

My favorite element of Leprechaun 2 is how it disregards/builds on the mythology established in the first movie, and introduces more magical weaknesses to the character.

You know how Freddy Kruger can’t get you if you don’t fall asleep?  You know how the Predator won’t hunt you if you’re not holding a gun?  Well, there are several ways to slow or stop the Leprechaun if he’s after you.

In the first movie, it was shoes and four-leaf clovers.  This time around, it’s wrought-iron and manners.  You can trap the Leprechaun in a safe made of a certain kind of metal, or you can stab him with a pole made of it.  And if the Leprechaun has designs on breeding with your lovely daughter, as he does with the titular bride, he can only get her if she sneezes three times.  You can protect her by saying “God Bless You.”  Like I said: manners!  This Leprechaun is an unusually vulnerable guy for a thousand-year-old demon who can take a pistol-shot to the chest.

That’s about all there is to say about Leprechaun 2, except for this:  BOOBIES.  If you need more information, I’m sure there are many websites to oblige, this being the internet and all.  But for the intellectual-minded, it is worth noting that the Leprechaun films almost immediately got sleazier, and for the creeps, the same knowledge is useful for different ends.

Oh, and also:  Keep an eye out for the cameo appearance by the great Tony Cox (Bad Santa, Friday) as a more human leprechaun, dressed for the holiday, who runs into the protagonist in the men’s room and offers him what the evil Leprechaun never would.

“Hey man, want me gold? Pure milk chocolate!”

Next up: Leprechaun 3: Leprechaun In Las Vegas (1995).

@jonnyabomb

Your luck just ran out.

Leprechaun (1993).

There has been one story consistently dominating the news stands and magazine racks for the last six years or so, and it is clearly the dominant political issue of our times.  No, it’s not marriage equality.  No, it’s not the Iraq War.  No, it’s not the recession.  It has only ever been, in fact, this question:

Choose.

Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?

To this question I tend to reply: I’m not Brad Pitt (obviously) so I never had to choose between the two.  It’s a Coke/Pepsi, Betty/Veronica kind of a decision – you could probably pick a favorite if you really had to, but it’d be a photo finish.  Both options are pretty great.

That said, Jennifer Aniston is the only one who appeared in a Leprechaun movie, so she holds a special place in my heart, and has for almost fifteen years.  I don’t imagine she’d appreciate me spotlighting this early credit on her resume, but she’s welcome to take it up with me personally.  I have only nice things to say about her in Leprechaun.  However, it’s interesting to note that, while it’s hard to remember a time when Jennifer Aniston wasn’t one of the most famous people on the planet, on this movie she took second billing.

Observe:

Marvel put little effort into their She-Hulk movie poster.

Look at that poster.  Look whose name comes first.  Look who appears first.  Look where your eye is drawn, despite the pretty lady in the foreground. If the Leprechaun franchise is comparable to the James Bond franchise in any way, it’s that Jennifer Aniston’s role in it is that of a Bond girl.  She may be the best of them, she may be the Ursula Andress of the Leprechaun movies, but she’s still not the star of the franchise.  Warwick Davis is.  Warwick Davis… is James Bond.

At the time of Leprechaun‘s release, Warwick Davis had appeared in Return Of The Jedi and Labyrinth, but was otherwise best known for his starring role as the idealistic, courageous magician called upon to save the day in the George Lucas/ Ron Howard epic fantasy film Willow.

"Heroes come in all sizes."

From that role, of quintessential decency, to a role of the most vile and lascivious evil – this is some range.

Yes I said that.

You can’t see me right now, but my tongue is not at rest in my cheek; it is instead blowing a disparaging raspberry at all those who disagree.  I won’t ever make the argument that Leprechaun is in any way a great, good, or even decent movie, but I will argue that Warwick Davis dives into a thoroughly ridiculous role to hugely entertaining results, and that such a performance does in fact require a talented actor.  Without Johnny Depp’s lead in the Pirates Of The Caribbean flicks, Jack Sparrow does not endure.

Warwick Davis as "Willow Ulfgood."

Warwick Davis as "The Leprechaun."

So it is with Warwick Davis and his portrayal of the evil Leprechaun.  He gives his entire commitment, even in the scene where he is forced by the film’s protagonists to run around shining shoes as they toss them into his path.  (If you’re asking why, you’re probably giving the detail more thought than the filmmakers did, but it has something to do with a little-known rule of legend that evil leprechauns remain shoemakers by trade and therefore cannot stop themselves from plying that trade, even amidst a homicidal rampage.)  With the Leprechaun, Warwick Davis managed to create a memorable movie monster, even if the distance between the Leprechaun and Michael Myers or Francis Dollarhyde is akin to the distance between Jupiter and Cleveland.

Probably not included on her Lifetime Achievement reel.

The supporting cast, or his stable of victims, is not quite as memorable.  In fact, without going back to the original film, the only characters besides the evil Leprechaun who I even remember are Jennifer Aniston, who did her job and sometimes acted scared and was otherwise adequate and adorable, and Mark Holton, who is best known as Chubs (cruel naming there) from the Teen Wolf pictures, and more importantly, as Francis from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

"Hey, it's Enrico Palazzo!"

In Leprechaun, he plays Ozzie, a mentally-challenged handyman who sets off the whole chain of events by finding the Leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and promptly swallowing one of the gold coins.  Basically, the Leprechaun can’t have his money fucked with.  Whenever that happens, he shows up to take back his gold and to kill everyone who comes in contact with it.  You can keep your Pulp Fiction and your Seinfeld:  “I need me gold!” is one of the great lost catchphrases of the 1990s.  The exchange between Ozzie and the Leprechaun when they realize the location of the last gold shilling is also pretty priceless.  Basically, any interchange between these two dudes are among the film’s highlights.

"You only got away because me powers are weak! I NEED ME GOLD!"

Besides all that?  Even if you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve already seen it.  Spooky prologue introducing villain, protagonists introduced, GOLD, “gulp,” villain shows up to reclaim his property, murder, murder, murder, murder, good guys win, but maybe villain will come back.  Same structure as most horror flicks — it’s just a series of murders of peripheral characters by the evil Leprechaun, as Jennifer Aniston and her friends try to find out how to stop him.  [SPOILER:  Four-leaf clover, slingshot, mouth, “I’m melting!”]

What I fondly remember from this movie are the various methods of transportation appropriated by the Leprechaun, most of which double as implements of murder:  the mini-car, the pogo-stick, the roller skates, the wheel chair.  It’s amazing to watch, if a bit insane, considering the fact that the Leprechaun has the power to magically teleport himself anywhere he wants.

Anyway, that’s what you need to know about the first one.  If for some reason someone reads these articles and is somehow persuaded to actually watch these movies, this is one of two to watch.  The franchise very quickly gets very rough on you, as we’ll soon see.

Next up: Leprechaun 2: Bride Of Leprechaun (1994).

@jonnyabomb

And suddenly, almost without warning, it became time to talk about the Leprechaun movies again.   I’m not even talking about Saint Patrick’s Day, although the apparent flurry of interest concerning the Leprechaun movies has clearly been timed to coincide with that forever-linked holiday.  First, the profile of former Leprechaun star Warwick Davis got a massive boost when HBO picked up his mockumentary series made with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

The show started airing last month here in the States.  I’ve only seen the first episode, and that was more than enough for me, but I love Warwick Davis and I was pretty happy to see the above billboard at eight-hundred-times life size in the middle of Times Square.

And then today happened.  My friend Zach Oat and my friends at Daily Grindhouse tipped me to the fact that WWE Films, makers of the John Cena action epics The Marine and 12 Rounds, are planning to attach jumper cables to the Leprechaun movie franchise for a release in 2013.  Sure thing.  It’s a natural fit.

I was being sarcastic at the end of that last paragraph but suddenly I’m imagining the possibilities.  If they can get Warwick Davis to come back for the new Leprechaun movie, maybe they can have John Cena face off against him.  It could be a blending of both Leprechaun and 12 Rounds, with the evil Leprechaun tormenting John Cena instead of a mad bomber.

 

I have absolutely zero Photoshop skills, but you get the point.

Or if they can’t persuade Warwick Davis to return, maybe John Cena himself can take over the lead role.  I see no reason why a monstrous pro wrestler couldn’t portray an evil Leprechaun.

Boggles the mind, does it not?

All of this is good enough reason for me to decide to repost what I logged last year in bulk on the Leprechaun franchise, my rough guide to a series of films which reached a staggering six entries before petering out almost ten years ago.  It was one of my most popular posts, and now I guess I’ll split it up into seven more easily digestible mini-posts.  All of the following has appeared previously elsewhere and has been both abridged and expanded just in time for this most eventful St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

As previously noted, I’m something of an expert on the six Leprechaun movies, which is to say, I’ve seen them all.  It’s not a boast.  If I could unsee a couple of them, I would.  Generally speaking, they stink.  The Leprechaun movies are like farts:  Some of them stink so bad you can’t help but laugh, but most of them just clear the room.

First up (next post):  Leprechaun (1993).

If you enjoy the series, want to talk movies, or if you catch sight of a leprechaun and feel you need help banishing him, contact me here:

@jonnyabomb